A special session on firearms? Reform supporters wary: Nonprofit Texas Gun Sense responds to Uvalde – Reuters

Hundreds gathered at the Texas State Capitol on May 25 to remember the victims of the Uvalde school shooting (Photo by John Anderson)

Nicole Doregeneral manager of a non-profit organization Texas Gun Sense, has dedicated his career to gun reform in the state. And while she would like to see sensible legislation hastily enacted, she is wary of a special session of the Texas Legislature who may be called upon in response to the May 24 massacre of 19 children and two adults at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School.

His organization’s relationship with the Lege reached an all-time high during its 2021 session(s). Texas Gun Sense-backed bills never left the committee (one reportedly closed loopholes in audits of background; another would create an extreme risk protection order to temporarily take the weapons of a threatening person). At the same time, the passage of porterage without a permit despite a wave of opposition — even from law enforcement — was “a really tough thing to watch,” Golden said.

Texas Gun Sense’s work over the past decade has focused on the legislature – providing reliable policy data and advice and ensuring lawmakers can hear the voices of gun violence survivors. It’s been an uphill battle, and the group has pivoted to also work with local governments in establishing programs that prevent community violence and provide education about gun safety and storage. “These are things we can push forward outside of the Legislative Assembly,” Golden said, noting that state laws would trump any local gun reform that city councils or county commissions might. try to enact. “And then redefining what success looks like and playing the long game. The last session was particularly brutal – the last session was so tough.”

Govt. Greg Abbott gave two contradictory speeches on Friday, May 27 — one in Uvalde to grieving families, and a pre-recorded one that was played at the NRA convention in Houston. To Uvalde, he said: “As for a special session, let me say this: all options are on the table. In his speech to the NRA, he said many gun control laws already exist and yet they “didn’t stop the crazies”.

Regarding a special session, Golden said, “There’s precedent for that…But Governor Abbott’s school security plan after the Santa Fe shooting…it looked like maybe we could move forward. some things and those things just didn’t happen. What I wouldn’t want to come out of a special session with more harmful legislation, so I’d be careful.”

However, she is not without optimism. “Where my hope lies is in the movement, the gun violence prevention movement,” she said. “It’s been building since Sandy Hook. In Texas, we have a strong coalition, it’s diverse, and I have hope and faith in that. We have a strong voice and it won’t stop. Is I think that’s going to change legislatively at the state level? I can’t say that. Maybe we can move the needle on some little things. And a crucial win that Texas Gun Sense got in the last session could come back to haunt proponents of lax gun laws: An amendment to the carry without a license bill allowed the state to study the impacts of the bill.

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